‘The racism they talk about, using images from slavery, that comes from the other side — white people…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Several descendants of the real “Aunt Jemima” have spoken out to denounce Quaker Oats’ recent announcement that it would rebrand the pancake-mix and syrup company.
As race-riots and politically correct historical revisionism run amok, PepsiCo, which owns Quaker Oats, announced last week that it would do away with the Aunt Jemima name and label because they perpetuate “racial stereotypes.”
But a YouTube webcast by Georgia-based stylist Kamilah Alim–Secret last week claimed that the host was the great-great granddaughter of Anna Short Harrington, who became the face of the Aunt Jemima brand in the early 1920s following the death of original pitchwoman Nancy Green.
Alim–Secret invited her mother on the show to discuss the history behind the brand’s famous face. Harrington, she said, was a “well known cook in the Syracuse, New York, area after having moved from a small town in South Carolina.
“She was cooking at the fairs and different places for white people, and they loved her cooking,” said the great-granddaughter.
She gained a reputation while cooking at a Syracuse University fraternity house, “and at the point that she was signed on, it was her pancakes that they were so intrigued with,” she said.
Meanwhile, one of Harrington’s other descendants, great-grandson Larnell Evans Sr., told Patch that the idea his great-grandmother was exploited by the company and made to promote demeaning stereotypes couldn’t be farther from the truth.
“This is an injustice for me and my family,” Evans said. “This is part of my history, sir.”
Evans and several other family members have had a combative relationship with Quaker Oats.
“The racism they talk about, using images from slavery, that comes from the other side — white people,” he maintained. “And their answer is to erase my great-grandmother’s history. A black female. It hurts.”
In 2014, he and a nephew filed a lawsuit against the company for not paying royalties to Harrington’s descendants. The attempt failed, because a judge ruled that Evans didn’t have legal standing to sue in Harrington’s name.
Now, Evans said there will be nothing to show for his great-grandmother’s lifelong work.
“She worked for that Quaker Oats for 20 years. She traveled all the way around the United States and Canada making pancakes as Aunt Jemima for them,” he said.
“This woman served all those people, and it was after slavery,” he continued. “She worked as Aunt Jemima. That was her job. … How do you think I feel as a black man sitting here telling you about my family history they’re trying to erase?”
PepsiCo is, however, trying to atone for its past “failures.” The company now plans to spend $400 million over the next five years to “lift up black communities and increase black representation at PepsiCo.”
But this isn’t enough for Evans, who accused the company of getting rich off of profits “while we still suffer.”
“They’re just going to erase history like it didn’t happen?” he said. “They’re not going to give us nothing? What gives them the right?”